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Risk Control

Many people would enjoy this book, written in 2005.  Poundstone tells a good story and illustrates how a number of clever menfound edges, pursued them, and triumphed.  The reader may not be able to beat the world after reading this, but it may teach him about how bright men found ways to pursue their advantages.

If you want to buy the book, you can buy it here:  Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street

Risk and the Smart Investor (5 Stars)

This book would benefit anybody who deals with the question of risk, whether personally or corporately, and that means all of us.  Not only do you get a lucid perspective on the causes of the financial crisis, but you get to see firsthand how corporations deliberately the word sound risk management principles in order to make money in the short term.

The reader also gains perspective on how to deal with risk in his or her own life.  Will you go the way of Rob, or will you go the way of Max?  Or, as most of us, will you do little of both?

I read lots of books on asset allocation, but relatively few books on risk control, because few accessible books get written on that topic.  This in my opinion was a very good book on risk control.  It has my highest recommendation.

If you want to, you can buy it here: Risk and the Smart Investor.

No One Would Listen (5 Stars)

Most average investors could benefit from the book.  What it would point out to them is that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is, and that they should do their own due diligence.

If you want to buy the book, you can buy it here:  No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller

MarketPsych (4 Stars)

Almost any investor who is frustrated with his performance, particularly from bad timing , would benefit from this book.  If you want to, you can buy it here: MarketPsych: How to Manage Fear and Build Your Investor Identity (Wiley Finance).

Who Can You Trust With Your Money? (4 Stars)

Most average investors could benefit from the book.

If you want to buy the book, you can buy it here:  Who Can You Trust With Your Money?: Get the Help You Need Now and Avoid Dishonest Advisors

The Flaw of Averages (3 Stars)

The average reader will learn many ways that statistics such as averages can deceive.  As Benjamin Disraeli, once said, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  This book will help you avoid the last sort of lie.  I recommend this book.

If you want to buy it, you can buy it here: The Flaw of Averages: Why We Underestimate Risk in the Face of Uncertainty

The Club No One Wanted To Join (3 Stars)

Anyone who wants to sympathize with and support those who lost to Madoff would benefit from this book.  It does a fairly complete job, and is not long at ~230 pages.  As I write this it is, out of stock at Amazon, but when available, you can buy it here: The Club No One Wanted To Join-Madoff Victims In Their Own Words Barnes & Noble does have copies.

Think Twice (2 Stars)

Who can benefit from this book?  Anyone who makes economic decisions could benefit.  It would help them be more self aware of the pitfalls involved in decisionmaking.  I found it to be a breezy read at 143 pages of main text, and the writing style is entertaining.

You can buy the book here: Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition.


David Merkel is an investment professional, and like every investment professional, he makes mistakes. David encourages you to do your own independent "due diligence" on any idea that he talks about, because he could be wrong. Nothing written here, at RealMoney, Wall Street All-Stars, or anywhere else David may write is an invitation to buy or sell any particular security; at most, David is handing out educated guesses as to what the markets may do. David is fond of saying, "The markets always find a new way to make a fool out of you," and so he encourages caution in investing. Risk control wins the game in the long run, not bold moves. Even the best strategies of the past fail, sometimes spectacularly, when you least expect it. David is not immune to that, so please understand that any past success of his will be probably be followed by failures.

Also, though David runs Aleph Investments, LLC, this blog is not a part of that business. This blog exists to educate investors, and give something back. It is not intended as advertisement for Aleph Investments; David is not soliciting business through it. When David, or a client of David's has an interest in a security mentioned, full disclosure will be given, as has been past practice for all that David does on the web. Disclosure is the breakfast of champions.

Additionally, David may occasionally write about accounting, actuarial, insurance, and tax topics, but nothing written here, at RealMoney, or anywhere else is meant to be formal "advice" in those areas. Consult a reputable professional in those areas to get personal, tailored advice that meets the specialized needs that David can have no knowledge of.

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